As the dismal 2009 season continues, I think it is time to ask ourselves the question: Can we compete in 2010, or is competition more realistic in 2011 and beyond. Going into next year, our projected rotation looks fairly strong with Braden, Anderson, Mazzaro, Cahill, and Gio as long as they keep progressing as expected. Our bullpen looks very solid, with Bailey, Wuertz, Ziegler all looking very good this year, along with some minor league promotions like Henry Rodriguez and Sam Demel, and the return (knock on wood) of Joey Devine. I think it is perfectly reasonable to think that these pitchers could result in contention. However, will the offense be good enough to put our losing ways behind us?
Next years projected lineup:
1B: ? (Barton? FA signing?)
SS: ? (Pennington? FA signing? Trade return for Holliday?)
3B: ? (Everidge? FA signing-Figgins? Trade return for Holliday?)
I actually think the production for the non-question marks could be decent enough if we could acquire some difference makers at the positions in question. At first base, options are fairly limited. I doubt Carter and/or Doolittle will be ready. We could throw Barton out there and hope he lives up to his elusive potential. First base free agent options are not very impressive. Nick Johnson could be an option there but do we really want another inevitable injury victim being relied upon? SS FA options are even more limited; this area should be addressed via trade (Escobar? Wood? Hardy?) if we want to realistically compete next year. Wolff has voiced his love for Figgins in the past, and I honestly believe we are going to land him in the offseason to man the hot corner.
Will Beane patch our holes by next year? Or will 2010 be another year of dissapointment?